Tait bows out from coun­cil

North Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE - CAITLIN WAL­LACE

Af­ter 30 years rep­re­sent­ing the peo­ple of Huntly, Graeme Tait is bow­ing out of lo­cal body pol­i­tics and will not seek re-elec­tion to the Waikato Dis­trict Coun­cil.

‘‘I’ve en­joyed my time on coun­cil, I’ve al­ways tried to do my best for the ratepay­ers,’’ Tait said.

‘‘I’ve been here long enough... it’s just one of those things.’’

Tait’s po­lit­i­cal ca­reer be­gan when elected as a coun­cil­lor in 1986 to the for­mer Huntly Bor­ough Coun­cil.

Three years later he moved onto the Huntly Com­mu­nity Board when the amal­ga­ma­tion cre­ated the Waikato Dis­trict Coun­cil. He served on the com­mu­nity board un­til 1992, then was elected to rep­re­sent the Huntly ward.

He started off in lo­cal gov­ern­ment at 46 years old, the ‘‘av­er­age age’’ for a coun­cil­lor in those days. He said he was well-known in the com­mu­nity from be­ing born and bred in the North Wai- kato.

‘‘Be­tween the [St John] am­bu­lance and the butcher shop is how I came to be on coun­cil.’’

It’s been a try­ing but en­joy­able time for the fa­ther of two who has seen the coun­cil evolve and the tasks of a coun­cil­lor change dra­mat­i­cally over the years.

Tait has been in­volved in plenty of ‘‘vig­or­ous de­bates’’ in­clud­ing the de­ci­sion to im­ple­ment wa­ter me­ters.

‘‘I fought hard against wa­ter me­ters but lost that bat­tle in the end... democ­racy rules.’’

Tait wasn’t one to hold back on shar­ing his opin­ion but said any clashes be­tween coun­cil­lors al­ways stayed in the coun­cil cham­bers.

And like a rugby match, they would all be mates again in the pub later on, he said.

‘‘We had one guy in there and he had a ding dong and threw all the toys out of the cot... [but] he had al­ready poured all the drinks when we got out,’’ he said.

Some of the de­vel­op­ments he’s been par­tic­u­larly proud to be part of are the Hampton Downs Mo­tor­sport Park and trans­form­ing the Huntly swim­ming pool to a heated fa­cil­ity.

‘‘That’s been quite ben­e­fi­cial for the town,’’ he said.

Tait said he wanted to help his com­mu­nity be­cause it was just part of his na­ture.

And it was thanks to the sup­port of his late wife Pauline that he was able to get so far.

‘‘Ev­ery suc­cess­ful man has a suc­cess­ful woman be­hind him.’’

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